An interview with Christopher Ewin, MD, President and Founder of 121MD in Fort Worth, Texas, Elmer G. Pinzon, MD, MPH, Medical Director at University Spine & Sports Specialists, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief of Concierge Medicine Today and The Direct Primary Care Journal.
Q: What is concierge medicine and what are the varying types of concierge medicine business models that are in use?
Dr. Pinzon: Concierge medicine is an emerging form of practice in which private health professionals are expanding out beyond the fixed insurance model of medicine. Because of the restrictive nature of insurance companies, these companies are not always able to cover newer, more novel approaches that are not considered mainstream medicine. It can take a long time for research to be recognized and covered by health insurance companies; some patients don’t want to wait that long.
Concierge medicine models allow patients to pursue other options that their insurance plans will not cover—such as regenerative medicine, prolotherapy, acupuncture, and nutritional approaches.
I practice musculoskeletal medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation, and have patients who are willing to pay for certain procedures not covered by their insurance, such as interventional spine procedures and ultrasound-guided musculoskeletal injections in the knee, shoulder, and other joints. I am able to incorporate these interventions into my practice using concierge medicine.
In addition to physician-based models, psychological, nutritional, and exercise-based models of concierge medicine exist. Or you can have a practice that offers a continuum of models.